How to deal with excessive shyness in young people: parenting strategies
Nov 20, 2023
Throughout history, different thinkers have strived to develop theories about what it means to “be young.” We know that every theory involves a series of interconnected conjectures about reality. This means that it is not exactly reality, but rather a crop of it. Therefore, when a theory characterizes young people as subjects who “pursue autonomy from their parents” and who “prefer to be accompanied by their peers to belong to a group”, it is difficult to think of a different youth, beyond those limits, that exceeds the margins of that corpus. abstract.
Many young people experience excessive shyness in social situations, even though the stereotype assigned to them reflects the opposite.. That is, what is written about them does not fit their reality. For this reason, there are also many parents who show concern for their children when they are withdrawn when it comes to establishing social and emotional ties. In this article we will develop the parenting strategies that allow coping with excessive shyness in young people.
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Shyness: is it problematic?
Before delving into parenting strategies, it is necessary to make a point about shyness. At a cultural level, we could agree that shyness is not a personal quality that is well regarded. Society increasingly rewards those extroverted, strong identities that are not afraid to give their opinion or point of view in the media, sometimes even bordering on conflict.. In a certain way, collectively there is the idea that in order to be successful and advance in our personal projects, it is an essential condition to be good speakers and to have the ability to approach people. the rest.
However, shyness is a personality trait like any other. A personality trait involves an interweaving of attitudes, habits and emotions that are sustained by a person throughout their life. We could also understand these traits as a repertoire of behavioral strategies that predominate in the development of a person and give them a distinctive sense of identity when it comes to bonding with others. the rest. The personality of a subject does not have to be accompanied by a value judgment, nor does it have any reason to limit the future possibilities of that person.
Furthermore, it is important to note that personality is, in itself, a construct that has been questioned in recent decades in the world of psychology. Although we maintain a more or less stable pattern of behavior, it is also true that we do not We print the same behaviors in every situation, but it depends on the scenario in which we find ourselves. let's find. Are we always shy, or are we shy in such a place, with such people, and under certain circumstances? Are there other situations in which we are not so shy? The point of this is to show that, although we could maintain that each of us has a personality, it is not rigid, static or unchangeable. We can “be” other people in other contexts. Therefore, if we decide to talk about personality, this should not be a suffocating castile.
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When shyness becomes harmful
So, when we ask ourselves if shyness is problematic, the answer is that it is only problematic if it is a problem for the person. In itself, there is nothing intrinsically negative about tending to be self-conscious or withdrawn during youth (or in adulthood, or at any stage of life). However, we begin to think about coping strategies to overcome shyness when it is an impediment when carrying out everyday activities or thinking about activities you would like undertake. For example, excessive shyness could prevent a young person from asking for a doctor's appointment. In truth, this boy might like the idea of acquiring a greater degree of independence from his parents, but his shyness keeps him from what he wants to achieve.
Problematic shyness, in addition, also could make it difficult for a person to relate to a romantic interest. These individuals often experience intense emotions, such as anxiety and shame, which may be difficult to tolerate and make everyday situations difficult. youth - such as moving to another city, starting higher education, looking for a job, planning for the future, emancipating oneself from parents, etc. - something excessively complex to carry out.
In these cases, we could say that shyness has become a problem. Fortunately, shyness can be worked on together with a psychotherapist; as well as social anxiety. Also, it is possible for parents to carry out certain parenting strategies capable of ensuring that their children, at reach youth, develop certain behavioral patterns that allow them to adapt to the challenges of this stage with you grow To cultivate those values that are meaningful to a person, it is usually necessary to establish social ties, learn to request something and ask for help; also to negotiate. Below we point out some parenting strategies that could make this process more enjoyable for future young people.
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Parenting Strategies to Address Problematic Shyness
These are the best parenting and homeschooling strategies to help young children with shyness problems.
1. Show affection
Affection is the fundamental pillar so that young people learn from childhood that bonding with people who are find themselves in an asymmetrical position with respect to them, as parents, grandparents or teachers, it is a safe task. A study carried out by Franco Nerín and collaborators found that parents who provide low levels of affection perceive lower social skills in their children than parents who provide greater keen. At the same time, they perceive that Their children are more aggressive, withdrawn and have higher levels of anxiety-depression compared to affectionate parents.. Therefore, there is the possibility that both aspects are closely related. Promoting spaces for dialogue, the clear expression of signs of affection, whether through concrete actions or through words, They are elements that allow the child to perceive that he/she is loved by his/her parents and that it is safe to function in that context.
2. Encourage contact with peers from an early age
Encouraging the child's social contact with his/her peers can be a good strategy so that he/she gets used to interacting with others from an early age. It may be a good strategy to mediate social contact through recreational activities or physical activity. At first, for a boy who is already shy, this contact can be difficult. However, sustained repetition over time may be enough for him to gradually begin to behave more confidently when being with other children. Later, he can extend that skill to conversation with adults.
3. Be careful with labels
Regarding this topic we have made a point when we addressed the notion of personality. The personality we perceive—of others, but also our own—can operate as an overly inflexible label, which does not accurately capture a person's way of being. By labeling a child from an early age as “shy” or “embarrassing,” we will be adjusting the person to a way of behaving at a specific moment in their life, in a particular physical and social place. This can be problematic, since based on what adults say, children begin to create narratives about themselves and who they are in the world.
Some of them may be relatively harmless, but other phrases that come from elders could be internalized quickly, due to the way human language works. Thus, the child begins to build a story where he is the protagonist, composed of statements such as “I am intelligent, but too lazy”; and identities like “the clown”; “the antisocial” or “the shameful”. The fact that children construct their own stories is something completely human and expected; we all do it. The place of the parents is to be careful with condemning these narratives by judging them by qualities-of-being instead of referring to their concrete behaviors.. For example, avoid phrases like “you're a coward” when the child simply does not dare to play with another.
4. Know when to ask for help
Ultimately, although it is not a parenting strategy per se, as parents it is important to know when it is time to ask a professional for help. The parenting process can be experienced with concern. Having few coping resources could lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression in parents.
Thomas Santa Cecilia
Thomas Santa Cecilia
Consulting Psychologist: Master in Cognitive Behavioral Psychology
Consulting with a therapist can be helpful in reversing it. If you are looking for this type of services, contact me.